Recently I read “The Return of The Prodigal Son” written by Henri J. M. Nouwen, a priest enamored with the Painting of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt. The book goes into great depth and was very thought-provoking. Seven of my friends met to discuss this book, which was very enlightening. After reading this story countless times, I would relate to the wayward son and then the son who stayed home, but I had missed so much. It never dawned on me that the son who claimed his inheritance was saying he wanted his Father dead, but that was exactly what he was saying. An inheritance comes upon someone’s death. Then I never realized how very dark the older son must be when he was very jealous and certainly not forgiving of his brother upon his return.
Never had I realized that I needed to become more like the Father, who was so forgiving and compassionate upon the return of the younger son. The author thought three ways to a truly compassionate fatherhood would be grief, forgiveness and generosity. That gave me pause and I have been looking at those qualities this last week.
Luke 15:22 reads, “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet: and bring the fattened calf, kill it and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.”